There are many reasons why one would want to obtain a 2nd citizenship. Perhaps the quality of life or political climate in your home country is less than desirable for you or your family. Or maybe you simply want to set up a business in a better economic climate with a more forgiving tax regime. Finally, many desire a second passport that provides more freedom of movement.
Currently, there are 8 countries in the world that offer clearly defined citizenship by investment (CBI) programs. These programs typically provide different routes of investment, whether by real estate or government funds, that will grant applicants and their family members a second citizenship in return.
The majority of these programs are offered by nations within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), although there are two programs – Malta and Cyprus – that are within the European Union. The South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu also offers its own CBI program.
It goes without saying that many who would apply for such programs want to do so as affordably as possible. Depending on the country and method of investment, a second passport might not set you back nearly as much as you would imagine. We’ve broken down the required contribution amounts for each of these programs below.
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda’s passport grants the holder visa-free travel to 127 countries and there are multiple routes to obtain one. Applicants can contribute $100,000 USD to the Antigua National Development Fund (NDF), invest $400,000 USD into a government-approved real estate project (retained for 5 years), or invest $1.5 million USD into establishing a business in the country. Like most of these CBI programs, there is no requirement to be present to apply.
Cheapest CBI Option: $100,000 USD contribution to NDF
Cyprus has a highly popular CBI/RBI program as it’s one of only two countries within the EU that offers such a program. Applicants have two options: 1) invest €300,000 for permanent residence, or 2) a €2 million investment in real estate for Cypriot citizenship within just 6 months. The initial €2 million investment can be reduced down to €500,000 after 3 years.
Cheapest CBI Option: €2,000,000 investment in real estate
Dominica is yet another CARICOM nation with multiple CBI options. Applicants can contribute $100,000 USD to a government fund for themselves ($200,000 USD for a full family) or by investing $200,000 USD into real estate projects. Dominica’s passport allows visa-free travel to 118 countries, including to the UK and countries within the Schengen Area.
Cheapest CBI Option: $100,000 USD contribution to government fund
Grenada’s CBI program is one of the newest onto the scene and allows visa-free travel to 123 countries. Grenada provides the same two options for investors as Dominica, but the contribution amounts are higher. Applicants can contribute $200,000 USD to a government fund or invest $350,000 into government-approved real estate projects. The age range for qualifying dependents is more lenient – parents over 55 and children as old as 30.
Cheapest CBI Option: $200,000 USD contribution to government fund
Like Cyprus, Malta has both a RBI and CBI option. The permanent residency option requires an investment of €250,000 into government bonds for 5 years. The citizenship option is ultimately cheaper than Cyprus’, but also more stringent as it requires a commitment to live in Malta for at least 5 years. Applicants must make a minimum contribution of €650,000 to the Government Development Fund (€25,000 more for each dependent), a further €150,000 into government-approved financial instruments, and at least €350,000 towards purchasing a property.
Cheapest CBI Option: €1,150,000 investment in multiple areas
St Kitts and Nevis
St Kitts and Nevis has the oldest CBI program in the world, established in 1984. The government provides applicants with two routes to citizenship, as well as a temporary one through its Hurricane Relief Fund. The first option is a $250,000 USD donation to the Sugar Industry Diversification Fund for one applicant only. But for a limited time, the government is taking $150,000 USD contributions for a main applicant and three dependents in order to generate funds for the Hurricane recovery. This option expires 30 March 2018. The other permanent option is a $400,000 USD investment in real estate.
Cheapest CBI Option: $150,000 USD contribution to the Hurricane Relief Fund until 30 March 2018
St Lucia is the newest nation in CARICOM to join the investment migration fold with its own CBI program in 2015. Applicants can make a minimum contribution of $100,000 USD to the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund in exchange for their second passport, or they can put at least $300,000 USD into a government-approved real estate project. Both of these plans include dependent children.
Cheapest CBI Option: $100,000 USD contribution to the Saint Lucia NEF
Vanuatu is the only country in the Asia Pacific region with a CBI program, and while it’s not the least expensive, it does afford many benefits. There is only one path – a $220,000 USD contribution ($280,000 USD for a family of four) into a national development fund. A Vanuatuan passport allows its holder visa-free travel to 119 countries, including the UK and EU/Schengen. There is no restriction on dual citizenship, no taxes levied on citizens, and the processing time is only 30-60 days.
Cheapest CBI Option: $220,000 USD contribution to a national development fund
Cheapest 2nd Passport in the World: Dominica
There is a lot of competition among the CARICOM nations when it comes to citizenship by investment. At the moment, Dominica, St Lucia, and Antigua & Barbuda are tied for the most affordable second citizenship through their one-time contribution options of $100,000 USD. However, every country on this list has fees associated with their programs for processing, due diligence, and passport issuance. Once these are taken into consideration, Dominica is the clear winner. The total additional fees are only $8,750 USD compared to St Lucia’s $59,500 USD and Antigua’s $32,800 USD.
So, if you’re looking for a second passport on a budget, look no further than Dominica!